Clinical Research Glossary

risk-benefit ratio risk-benefit ratio


A comparison of the possible bad and potential good things that could happen if a participant joins a research study.

Example of risk-benefit ratio in a sentence

It is important to discuss and understand the risk-benefit ratio of a research study before agreeing to participate.

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People look at the risk-benefit ratio in different ways. Some may be less willing to accept a risk. Others may decide that the possible benefits are greater than the risks.

Feelings about a study’s risk-benefit ratio can differ from person-to-person based on their own experiences, life situation, pre-existing conditions, and concerns.

It can be helpful for someone who is thinking about joining a study to discuss the risk-benefit ratio with the study team, trusted friends, and family members.

Other info to think about when joining a study

The term “risk-benefit ratio” is sometimes part of consent forms and consent discussions. It is a way to try to describe how the risks and benefits of the study compare. Thinking about the risk-benefit ratio can help you decide whether the study has enough potential benefits to outweigh the risks of being in the study.

You can talk to the study team and other trusted people in your life to work through whether or not to join the study, based on the information that is known about the study treatment.

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